Blues and Trouble…Sorg Ond Slæp [Sorrow and Sleep]
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The Great Migration, during which southern African Americans traveled north to find work and escape the injustice of Jim Crow, is a significant event in the social and historical context of blues. The songs recorded in the 1920s and 1930s voice an emotional response to an experience of struggle as they speak the promise and disillusionment of the search for stability. It has long been noted that, for its original audience, blues functioned to release the tension of stressful circumstances.1 For instance, James H. Cone observes,
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